LaTese is a member of the Broad Chemical Biology program, which is led by one of the Broad’s core members, Stuart Schreiber. The primary focus of the chemical biology group is to use small molecules as probes to explore various cellular processes as they relate to human disease. This diverse team of scientists work across several different areas including chromatin biology, cancer therapeutics, cell reprogramming, and regenerative medicine.
As a member of the group she works in the chromatin biology area, where her focus is to structurally characterize class I histone deacetylase (HDACs) proteins and their interaction with small molecule inhibitors. Over-expression of HDAC proteins have been implicated in various cancers and neurodegenerative disorders. Inhibitors of these proteins have demonstrated as useful therapeutic agents and biological probes to help us better understand the function of HDACs, but many of these compounds are non-selective amongst the HDAC family of proteins. Consequently, the individual role of each HDAC isoform remains unclear. The development of isoform specific probes will enable us to answer key questions about individual HDACs, however this chemistry must be guided by structural information about the protein.
As a trained structural biologist, LaTese plays an integral role in the aforementioned effort. Her research uses a combination of X-ray crystallography, surface plasmon resonance, and other biophysical tools to help our chemist design HDAC inhibitors that can selectively and potently bind specific HDAC isoforms.
"As a postdoc at the Broad, I have the opportunity to work on fun and exciting projects alongside renowned scientists in biomedical research. Postdocs at the Broad also receive invaluable hands-on training in lab management, which thoroughly prepares us to run our own labs as independent researchers. The Broad appeals to and nurtures all of my career interests, something I never thought I would find in a postdoc position."